As I get older, I realize money isn't everything. People talk about the importance of money. Money can buy you things. It has value to bring about the worldly items we may need to sustain us. A history teacher always quoted the famous song “Money Makes the World Go Round.” from Cabaret, a popular musical. Our teacher mentioned that all wars and conflicts come from money, so we must learn that to understand the history of the world.
We put a significant value on money because many of us have a cultural background of not coming from money, so money is valued. As we look at literature and theatrical performances, we learn from many characters about the value of money.
Money Isn't Everything in Literature
We read the stories of many famous characters that are so obsessed with money they do not realize the actions they take can ruin so many things. In the story, A Christmas Carol, we see Ebenezer Scrooge learn about his impending death and how his reputation was of someone that was always cheap or stingy. As he realized money isn't everything he knew to be generous with it.
From Greek Mythology, we learn of King Midas and his golden touch. The pride he felt as he could touch anything and everything, and it turned into gold. This was a magical touch that people would wish to have. He knew he was cursed when he realized even the food and drank that he would touch turned to gold.
My wife and I finished watching the movie The Wishing Dragon on Netflix, and the dragon throughout the film pushed the main character Din to wish for all the money in the world. As the movie progresses, you see that the dragon realizes life is not about money. It is about the relationships you create with others.
These are just a few examples. As you watch movies and read books, there are many examples of how money can corrupt, and the essential things to live life are not surrounding money. We need to realize that there are more important things to value in life than money.
Money Isn't Everything to Me
As I live my life, I realize that the relationships I build and the people who come into it are more important. Money does not control my actions. The things I value control my actions.
I valued the relationship I have with friends and family. They are so important to me and I continue to build those. My wife is also another important relationship to me. Every day I hope to make it stronger with greater bonds.
Being healthy is so important. I have watched many people allow health to wither away as they strive for money or success. Health to me is vital, so I can accomplish many things in my life. I want to hike, climb, swim, and play outdoors. If my health has been compromised due to money obsession, it will be a waste.
As I have learned these many things, I want to share a couple of items that are more important than money with you.
Here Are 8 Things That Are More Important than Money:
1. Living Life
The realization that we live life not just for money, but for living life instead. Yes, money can create avenues for success, but it is not what life is about. Life comes with problems, but with blessings as well.
Many different things can cause problems in our life. Money is not the solution to these problems at all. We cannot live for it to solve our problems. Life is a bit more complicated than that. If you feel that life is boring, money will not solve that problem. It will give you avenues to make it more exciting, but living for it will not solve these problems.
Life is about enjoying experiences, learning new things, having meaningful relationships, and valuing things outside of the realm of wealth. Money isn't going to bring some of these important things into your life. It will be a tool to make these things happen, but it has to come from something inside you.
2. Relationships Are More Important
Relationships come first in life. Living life without friends or family only for the sake of money is a lonely experience. It brings on resentment, regret, and a feeling of solitude. We see this perfectly in the story of Ebenezer Scrooge. His relationships were thrown away for money, and therefore he missed out on a possible love of his life, and the people around him mock him for his penny-pinching ways.
As we build relationships with others, let's not look like the cheap person that will choose not to spend time because of money, but let's desire to be the person that is generous with our time and money. Money isn't everything, and it is evident in the people we spend time with.
3. Time is More Valuable
You have heard the saying “Time is Money.” That is the truth of it. Money can buy us time, but if we are constantly working to achieve more money, we are spending our time, and it is hard to get that back.
Time is a commodity that cannot be bought. As life goes on, we spend our time. It is the currency that people want to buyback. As we sit in our old age, we have to wonder if we waste our time or spend it doing things we love?
I think back to the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Ben Stiller plays the part of Walter. He takes an epic adventure to find the last picture for the magazine. As you watch, you know that his learning to live his life through an experience that changes how he views his time.
Remember not to obsess and chase after money. Time is more valuable than the amount of money you have at the end of your life.
4. Happiness is more Important
We are under the impression that the more money you have, the more happiness that will come with it. A study said that the most happiness would come from a salary making around $75,000. The more money you made would not make you that much happier.
As you work for money, do remember that often we have to work longer hours. True happiness does not come from sitting in an office all day and night working away to obtain more money. As we gather even more money, it cannot provide the additional dopamine we need.
Something that would bring us more happiness is freedom. Freedom from the constraints of money is our goal to live life.
Money isn't everything, but freedom is everything.
5. Health is More Important
Another reason money isn't everything is because of what it does to our health. The stress, the world, and the obsession over obtaining money can strain our health. We lack the motivation to go and exercise. Cooking at home becomes a lost art, and we prefer to indulge in unhealthy snacks and take-out food.
If your sole purpose in life was to go and get as much money as possible, you would eventually start sacrificing your health in the process. It is also essential to take care of the mental status of your health. Stress can cause unnerving mental fatigue. Being healthy is way more important than money.
6. Being Generous
Money isn't everything, especially when we have been given so much. It is time to be generous. With much money, you can give more away. You can provide this money and time to people. Being willing to give is a huge thing.
My wife and I are Christians, and we believe that God has given us so much and it is good to give back. Being generous can include so much as giving your time, money, and talents to help those around us. It can be as easy as spending a day with the homeless just listening to their stories. You could even invite some of your closest friends over for dinner. Giving is caring.
7. Experiences Are Better Than Money
It is amazing how much experiences can affect your life. Travel, experiencing the world, and learning from new things can bring about great value into your life. These experiences will bring about more to your life than money will ever.
Learning from people and exploring the places around us give us opportunities to grow. These experiences are pivotal in shaping who we are. Money can buy a lot of things, but experiences stay with us much longer.
Stop buying possessions and start buying experiences. This is something that will outshine money in the short and long term. The memories will last you until you can no longer remember them.
8. Life Is Better Than Dying With Money
No matter how rich you are, the money cannot come with you in the afterlife. People believe the more money they have, the greater they will be. Once you die, it no longer matters. That amount of money will never be able to go with you to the grave.
You have a choice. Either you make money a priority or make everything else higher on the list, like relationships. Relationships with people will affect people for generations. At the same time, cash will die off when you die off. The choice is yours.
Money isn't everything. It is a tool we use to make things happen. We can use it to create wealth, help people out, and experience many things in the world. It is not what life is all about. We need to realize that life is not about money.
To many people, money can help life them out of all sorts of poverty. The thing is, you need to know how to manage it. 78% of pro-NFL football players lose everything and go broke. It is not because they didn't make enough money. It is because they did not know how to manage it.
Learning to manage money will also help you understand that money isn't everything. There are plenty of things that are in life to strive to reach. For instance, time, relationships, generosity, and your health can be items that have a far greater value on your life than money. It is time to see what do you value.
Do you put money above everything?
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” Spend less than you make, stay out of debt, and invest the rest”
I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more. And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.